Thursday Reads: Republican Wars on Women, Children, and the Poor . . . Plus Mormon White Supremacy and Michelle Cottle’s War on Sarcasm

Good Morning!!

Today I’m leaving the Boston area and driving to Indiana to stay with my mother for a few weeks. I should be able to keep up my blogging schedule most of the time. I’m going to miss Sky Dancing today, but I’ll check in when I stop for the night. I should get to Indiana on Friday evening. But before I leave, I have some interesting reads to share with you.

I’ll begin with war on women updates.

Via Kaili Joy Gray at dailykos, CNN posted a piece yesterday in which they claim to have found a “study” that shows that women’s voting behavior is dictated by their menstrual cycles. There must have been quite a backlash, because CNN later took the post down and replaced it with a statement saying that the content didn’t meet CNN’s “editorial standards.” Fortunately Kaili Joy Gray found the the article elsewhere and posted the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

The researchers [Kristina Durante of the University of Texas, San Antonio and colleagues] found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

Here’s how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they “feel sexier,” and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, if you also take into consideration other hormonal issues, everything intensifies. for example if you look at what are the symptoms of low dhea you´d be surprised at how many of them you already have .she says.

“I think they’re overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men,” she said. It’s a way of convincing themselves that they’re not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said.

Durante’s previous research found that women’s ovulation cycles also influence their shopping habits, buying sexier clothes during their most fertile phase.

Um…. Kristina? I have a question. What about us women of a certain age who no longer ovulate? How do we make our voting decisions? Go read the whole thing. You’ll never believe it otherwise.

[UPDATE: I just noticed that JJ posted about the CNN story last night–sorry for any repetition]

As of late last night Mitt Romney was still standing by Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who is now internationally famous for saying the following in a candidates’ debate on Tuesday night.

“You know, this is that issue that every candidate for federal or even state office faces. And I have to certainly stand for life. I know that there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view. But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have on abortion is in that case—of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Of course Paul Ryan will support Mourdock because Ryan even more extreme views on abortion–he believes it should be abolished in every case, even if her life is in danger from her pregnancy. Mourdock later claimed that he didn’t mean to say that god wills women to be raped, just that god insists that if a raped women gets pregnant, she must carry and give birth to her rapist’s offspring.

As of last night Mourdock was not backing down.

Mourdock, meanwhile, dove into damage control Wednesday, explaining that he abhors violence of any kind and regrets that some may have misconstrued and “twisted” his comments. But he stood behind the original remark in Tuesday night’s debate.

“I spoke from my heart. And speaking from my heart, speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I would not apologize. I would be less than faithful if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it’s a gift from God,” Mourdock said at a news conference Wednesday.

I have to say that I think forcing a woman to carry her rapist’s baby is pretty violent and will certainly cause her to endlessly reexperience the violence of the rape.

Yesterday, Ayn Rand fanboy and VP candidate Paul Ryan gave a speech about how he wants to help the poor by taking away the social safety net. Here’s Jonathan Chait’s take on the speech: Paul Ryan: No, I Want to Help the Poor! Really!

Paul Ryan, the celebrated Republican idea man, delivered a speech today entitled “Restoring the Promise of Upward Mobility in America’s Economy.” Upward mobility is a vital concept for Ryan. He is the author of a plan that would, as budget expert Robert Greenstein put it, “produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.” Upward mobility is Ryan’s constant answer to this objection. In his telling, his plans would make the economy more open and free, making it easier for the poor to rise and the rich to fall. As Ryan says, “We believe that Americans are better off in a dynamic, free-enterprise-based economy that fosters economic growth, opportunity and upward mobility instead of a stagnant, government-directed economy that stifles job creation and fosters government dependency.”

Of course, as Chait points out, Ryan’s plan to “help the poor” is complete bullsh*t.

So, what does Ryan have to offer in defense of his promise to “restore upward mobility?” He offers a riff about the importance of education reform, without either explaining what such a policy would entail or how it would differ from the very aggressive education reforms the Obama administration has implemented. He praises the role of private charity, suggesting that rolling back government assistance for the poor will encourage the private sector to step in, a decidedly shaky proposition.

Mostly, he talks about welfare reform. There is a consensus that welfare as we knew it did create serious cultural pathologies. Ryan cites the case of welfare reform frequently. To him, it proves that large cuts to programs that help poor people of any kind at all are not only harmless but will help the poor. “The welfare-reform mindset hasn’t been applied with equal vigor across the spectrum of anti-poverty programs,” he says. Thus he proposes enormous cuts — to children’s health-insurance grants, Head Start, food stamps, and, especially, Medicaid, which would have to throw about half its current beneficiaries off their coverage under his proposal.

What a guy! And he even has “scientific” support for his policies:

Ryan noted that Americans born into poor families are more likely to stay poor as adults than Americans born into wealthy families.

No kidding! And Ryan knows whereof he speaks, since he was born into a wealthy family. It’s so generous of him to want to help the irresponsible 47 percent.

I’ve been kind of sarcastic in this post, haven’t I? Does that bother you? According to Michelle Cottle of The Daily Beast, women don’t like sarcasm. In fact she wrote a story based largely on anonymous sources claiming that the women of “Hillaryland” were annoyed and offended by the sarcasm that President Barack Obama used on Mitt Romney in the third presidential debate Monday night. I never heard of “Hillaryland” before so I read about it in Wikipedia.

Hillaryland was the self-designated name of a group of core advisors to Hillary Rodham Clinton, when she was First Lady of the United States and again when, as United States Senator, she was one of the Democratic Party candidates for President in the 2008 election.

The group included Huma Abedin, Patti Solis Doyle (credited with coining the name “Hillaryland”), Mandy Grunwald, Neel Lattimore, Ann Lewis, Evelyn Lieberman, Tamera Luzzatto, Capricia Marshall, Cheryl Mills, Minyon Moore, Lissa Muscatine, Neera Tanden, Melanne Verveer, and Maggie Williams.

Now I have no idea if Michelle Cottle actually talked to any of the women listed above, because she doesn’t name names. She just claims that Hillary supporters hated Obama’s debate performance. Cottle writes:

How snarky was President Obama in his final debate with Mitt Romney?
He was scornful enough that, during the midst of the matchup, Hillaryland insiders were circulating amongst themselves a twit pic featuring that kick-ass photo of Hillary in her shades, captioned by Obama’s infamous put-down from one of their ’08 debates: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

Message: the arch, condescending Obama that so chafed Hillary backers was back with a vengeance.

That was the extent of Cottle’s references to “Hillaryland.” After the first two paragraphs of her piece, Cottle mostly quotes Republicans.

Many Dems cheered the sharp-quipped president, especially those demoralized by his sorry showing two debates ago in Denver. (As @JohnKerry tweeted, “I think POTUS just sank Romney’s battleship.”)

By contrast, Republicans were quick to proclaim shock and disgust at the president’s behavior. “We don’t have as many horses and bayonets as we used to, Mitt!” mimics Republican pollster Whit Ayres, his voice growing higher, shriller, and louder with each word. “I guess you didn’t learn much going to Harvard, did you, Mitt? How stupid are you, Mitt?!”

His voice coming back down to earth, Ayres huffs, “This is the president of the U.S. acting like a schoolyard bully.”

Oooooooh! A schoolyard bully? That sounds more like the Republican candidate to me.

As I noted above, Cottle even refers to “research” (which she doesn’t cite) that shows that women don’t like sarcasm. You couldn’t prove it by me. I think Cottle’s research is about as reliable as the “study” in the CNN piece I described above.

While you’re at The Daily Beast, I recommend reading Andrew Sullivan’s two posts on racism in the Mormon church and Mitt Romney’s failure to challenge it. Here’s the first post and the second post. Sullivan has also published some reader reactions in subsequent posts.

Finally, at Mother Jones, Tim Murphy asks if Romney supports corporal punishment of children. Romney has stated unequivocally that he opposes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I have the answer to Murphy’s question. Yes, Mitt believes in “whacking” children’s “bums,” according to his wife Ann

Ugh! But back to the MJ article. Murphy writes:

In July, the GOP presidential nominee wrote a letter to Virginia conservative activist Michael Farris, an evangelical power broker in the critical swing state, outlining his opposition to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which commits ratifying nations to protect children from discrimination. “My position on that convention is unequivocal: I would oppose Senate approval of the convention, and would not sign the convention for final ratification,” Romney wrote. “I believe that the best safeguard for the well-being and protection of children is the family, and that the primary safeguards for the legal rights of children in America is the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the states.”

The UN CRC hasn’t received much mainstream attention, but it’s becoming a rallying cry on the far right, mostly because social conservatives fear that its passage would imperil the rights of parents to, among other things, use corporal punishment on their kids. The first bullet point in Farris’ 2009 fact sheet explaining his beef with the treaty warned that “[p]arents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.” (The second was that juveniles could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.) Thanks to the efforts of Farris and others, at least 37 GOP senators have announced their opposition to the treaty.

The fear of a national spanking ban extends beyond the realm of international law. When the Supreme Court upheld most portions of the Affordable Care Act, Farris fretted that “Congress can regulate every aspect of our lives so long as there is a tax involved. Congress can ban spanking by enacting a $1,000 tax on those who do. Congress can ban homeschooling in a similar fashion.”

These are the same people who want to regulate every aspect of the lives of American women!

OK, those are my recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about? I’ll read your comments later tonight.

67 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Republican Wars on Women, Children, and the Poor . . . Plus Mormon White Supremacy and Michelle Cottle’s War on Sarcasm”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Wishing you a safe road trip.

    Damn, all my years I thought I was a woman. Guess I was wrong since sarcasm is my favorite form of humor. And I could never have imagined such a virulent, hateful backlash against women’s autonomy & personhood. It’s obvious that the Republicans are enamored of Mad Men & are determined to return us to the glory days of The Whiter than White Men in the 1950s.

    • I hear ya Connie, I am sick of people telling me what to think, what to do and why I think it and why should do it. Fuck them all!

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I’m not sure who pisses me off more – the colonized female collaborators or the men desperately trying to hold on to their god-given privilege to dominate women, children & nature.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think sarcasm is probably my most preferred form of humor too. And boy do I agree that people telling me how I think and feel is getting old really fast.

    • NW Luna says:

      I indulge in sarcasm daily as my favorite rhetorical technique. It’s also a great coping technique, keeps the brain active, etc. Those researchers have forgotten, or never learned, that the overlap of men’s and women’s behavior is far larger than the extremes on either end.

      So the average female spends approx 38 yrs of her life ovulating, including ~7-8 yrs too young to vote. There are plenty more years for the average woman after she’s done with ovulation. And how come I always was way more interested in sex when I didn’t have an impatient ova waiting? Guess I’m too rational 😉

  2. Have a safe trip BB, hope the roads are smooth…and the restrooms clean.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      The restrooms clean? I think you’re asking a bit much there.

      • LOL. I don’t know, I’ve been up all night and still have that overtired feeling that keeps you from falling asleep. Maybe I should have worded it differently? BB, may you have an enjoyable drive…and may the pitstops be clean.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks Connie and JJ. I’m taking Interstate 90 all the way to Indiana. I call it the luxury road because it has all the conveniences. Believe it or not the rest areas are all very nice and the restrooms are generally very clean. It’s well worth paying the tolls.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Poor Richard Mourdock. The meanies made him cry.

    An emotional Richard Mourdock told fellow Republicans here that this “has been one of the toughest days of my life” as the GOP Senate candidate acknowledged creating “quite a firestorm” from his controversial comments on rape and abortion.

    “Today has not been a fun day,” a teary-eyed Mourdock told a private dinner meeting of the Hamilton County Republican Party. “Professionally, emotionally, it’s been one of the toughest days of my life quite frankly.”

    He should try living a day in the shoes of a woman who has been violently raped and then finds out she’s pregnant. Maybe then he could develop a tiny bit of empathy for someone other than himself and zygotes.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    be safe bb

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank you, Mouse. I’ll be OK. I’ve driven this route many times.

      • Beata says:

        BB, we’ve had a gorgeous fall with lots of color on the trees in spite of our drought this summer. I hope you get here in time to see some of the foliage. Have a lovely visit. Just don’t turn on the TV! Way too many Mourdock and Pence ads. They will make you want to scream.

  5. Ron4Hills says:

    I think this story is absolutely unbelievable. I am from Dayton, OH. My dad, uncle and cousins all worked for Delphi or other divisions of GM. This really hits home and frankly it really hurts.

    How Romney can even be competitive in Ohio is beyond me.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s horrible, isn’t it? I grew up in a town in Indiana that used to have lots of car parts factories, including Delco Battery, which became Delphi. Now those most of those factories are gone. But Romney will carry Indiana.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Whoa, I was born in Dayton. My family moved to Miami, FL when I was 2. I know when NCR left, the town was decimated. As long as outsourcing continues apace, there are going to be so many ghost towns across the country. Rmoney is a greedy, heartless bastard.

    • RalphB says:

      It’s downright scary what people can overlook in a candidate’s background, so long as it made a large profit for him. We worship money far too much.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    Bleeding heart Liberal here. This is beyod heartbreaking & I don’t think hormones have a gd thing to do with it: Elephants are the new American bison. Please BOYCOTT ivory.

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Have a safe trip bb! Honk when you pass Springfield!

    McCain is asking that Mourdouck “apologize”. For what? What does this change in his overall outlook about women, rape and forced pregnancies?

    Does McCain believe that women are that stupid that an “apology” will be sufficient enough to change their minds about this Neanderthal? It doesn’t change how he feels since he has been active in the pro life movement for years and has been arrested for protesting outside clinics.

    Mourdock, in his defense, is saying nothing different than what the GOP platform and many of what the other candidates propose so why would an “apology” make a difference.

    McCain too is an ass!

    • bostonboomer says:

      McCain really just wants him to apologize to Republicans for damaging their chances at taking over the Senate.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Yes, McCain is an ass, without a doubt.

      First, I am pro-choice, pro-contraception & believe men should keep their mouths shut about abortion. It isn’t their body, their physical & emotional concern, nor their “responsibiltiy” to teach & raise their children to be healthy, happy, socialized humans, for the most part. However, if any of these idiots truly feel abortion is murder (which it isn’t), then any abortion should be anathema to them. At least that’s consistent with their so-called beliefs. IMHO, they don’t care about life, pre- or post-birth life. They are only pandering for the delusional voters. Bottom line for me, that points to their idiocy, is that they seem to believe that outlawing abortions will end all abortions forever. It won’t & it will kill more women than legal, safe abortions. Mark my words, these fools will next advance “their beliefs” that women who have an abortion, for whatever reason, should be tried for murder & given the death penalty. They are so emboldened by their lunatic rhetoric that they will keep pushing further & further to the Far Wrong (’cause these beliefs certainly aren’t “right”).

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    I really want to defend Sarah Palin for once.

    Those “shuck and jive” comments were actually a benign way of using the “N” word which we all know is what she meant but restrained herself from using.

    She deserves to be “complimented” for her restraint which has been lurking beneath the surface for a long time but she managed to successfully hide her actual intent among a few words that managed to say it without actually doing so.

    And all along we thought she was just plain stupid!

  9. peregrine says:

    The other “Murdoch” has renewed Roger Ailes’ contract. No surprise there. I did take note of the guardian’s and the Brits’ (commenters) take on fox news:

    “He’s (Ailes) established Fox News as the pre-eminent political world. When you watch it, you’re not just watching people who can influence power people, you’re watching the thrilling exercise of power. What you see — the malevolence, the disruption, the veiled subtexts — is the drama of dominance and submission.”

  10. janicen says:

    I’m not sure if I appreciate sarcasm or not. I’m so confused! If only I was ovulating and the hormones could tell me what to think!

    Safe travels, BB. The foliage should be spectacular this time of year.

    • Beata says:

      I’m trying to decide if I prefer irony or sarcasm. I do know there’s a subtle difference between the two types of humor. Since I no longer ovulate, I may never be able to make up my mind about this. Oh, my head is in such a tizzy! It’s a wonder I can think at all anymore. I need to lie down.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I just want somebody else to do my thinking for me. It gets exhausting after awhile!

      • janicen says:

        By all means, take it easy Beata. When you’re feeling “sexy” you’ll be able to think more clearly. Or is it when you’re not feeling sexy? There I go again with my post-menopausal, lack of estrogen confusion.*swoons and heads to the fainting couch*

    • bostonboomer says:

      You guys are killing me!

      • pdgrey says:

        My head is still spinning, I can’t seem to tell the height of things. The republicans tell me it’s because of the hysterectomy, and will forever need to depend on them for all of the important decisions the rest of my life. It has been such a comfort me me. ;D

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Nate Silver: Romney’s momentum seems to have stopped. He’s losing ground now.

  12. ecocatwoman says:

    Great show today on 1st hour of The Diane Rehm Shoow on the myth of voter fraud. Her guest in Jane Mayer of the New Yorker: Also looking forward to the 2nd hour, End of Life for our companion animals. Diane’s topics are always so good, but I may be prejudiced. She does so many good political & animal shows.

  13. NW Luna says:

    If you all haven’t yet read this, lambert has a fantastic piece on the cool use of rhetoric to whack your opponent back into his mole hole. (That’s my sarcasm, not his title)

    A transcript plus video and lambert’s excellent instructional commentary of the incomparable Julia Gillard’s takedown of the Leader of the Opposition Party.

  14. RalphB says:

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Obama for re-election in an interview with CBS News.

    Explained Powell: “When he took over, the country was in very very difficult straits. We were in the one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression. The fiscal system was collapsing. Wall Street was in chaos, we had 800,000 jobs lost in that first month of the Obama administration and unemployment peaked a few months later at 10 percent. So we were in real trouble. The auto industry was collapsing, the housing was start[ing] to collapse and we were in very difficult straits. And I saw over the next several years, stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years, it’s starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising.”

  15. RalphB says:

    President Obama explained to Rolling Stone Bill Clinton’s prominent role in his re-election campaign.

    Said Obama: “Our relationship is terrific. He did a masterful job, obviously, at the convention. … I’m talking to him regularly, and he has given me good advice. … The biggest challenge we’ve always had is that unlike FDR – who came into office when the economy had already bottomed out, so people understood that everything done subsequently to his election was making things better — I came in just as we were sliding. Because of the actions we took, we averted a Great Depression — but in the process, we also muddied up the political narrative, because it allowed somebody like Romney to somehow blame my policies for the mess that the previous administration created. Bill Clinton can point that out in ways that are really helpful and really powerful.”

    Meanwhile, the Obama campaign announced Clinton will appear at rallies with the president on Monday in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

    h/t politicalwire

  16. pdgrey says:

    don’t worry when it comes to voting we women have a way of “shutting that whole thing down” and use our brains to vote. I loved this comment.

  17. pdgrey says:

    If you guys didn’t see Colbert last night he make an offer to Donal Trump.

  18. Fannie says:

    Thanks BB, you enjoy your road trip, and your family, and some good eats.

    I am so wishing that these little scare boys like Mourdock, Romney, Walsh, Ryan, Santorum, and all the others who are afraid of women and their private parts, would just find some real strength in being men, and in, as well as of the world. But they are can’t be real, typical or even normal, they have a need to box women in and rule over them.

  19. Fannie says:

    by the by …………..I don’t believe for one minute that both Obama and Romney have an equal 47% of women’s vote. BS

    • Beata says:

      PD, do I need to click on this link to read it or do I just stare at it until it opens? How do I decide what to do? My brain is in a fog.

  20. dakinikat says:

    Vanity Fair has pictures up of the Bullying Teen Mitt Romney

    (btw it’s a joke … some of the commenters don’t seem to get it)

  21. RalphB says:

    WTF are these cretins smoking? Does let us know what they mean when they say actions “short of war” though. Glad we know now.

    TP: GOP Rep Says Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Would Not Be An Act Of War

    Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN last night that neither he, nor the Iranians, would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities an act of war.

    Rogers said that he believed there are options “short of war” that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, strangely, CNN host Erin Burnett wondered if bombing suspected nuclear weapons facilities would be an option that is “short of war.” While Rogers at first appeared taken aback by Burnett’s odd question, he then went a bit further, saying definitively that such an attack would indeed be “short of war” and the Iranians would see it that way too: